Pandemic Digital Board Game Pulled

The still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic had some interesting effects on people’s media diets. While some understandably shied away from media depicting global disease outbreaks, 2020 saw a renewed interest in games, shows, and movies dealing with that subject. This included popular mobile games like Plague Inc. and the cooperative board game Pandemic.

Thus, some might be surprised to find the digital edition of Pandemic disappearing from online storefronts. Reddit users noted its absence from Steam and the App Store earlier today, with developer Asmodee Digital confirming the game’s removal.

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Reddit user bad_boy_barry appears to have been among the first to raise questions about Pandemic’s removal from Steam, the App Store, and Google Play. They emailed the developer’s customer support and received official confirmation of the game’s removal from all three platforms. In addition, Asmodee revealed plans to pull the game from the Xbox storefront on July 31 and the Switch “at the end of July.” So, if anyone wants to pick up Pandemic on either platform, it seems now is the last opportunity to do so. Notably, the Xbox/PC version is currently free for Game Pass subscribers.

To clarify, anyone who owns Pandemic can still play the game. Asmodee’s email also indicates that players can still download it from their Steam, App Store, and Google Play libraries. However, its removal means that Pandemic will not receive any future updates. This is especially a problem for Android and iOS players, as future OS updates are likely to render it unplayable eventually.

Naturally, the biggest question is why Asmodee decided to pull the popular tabletop game from digital storefronts. Unfortunately, the company’s email isn’t much help in that regard. According to the seemingly automatic response, “This decision was made with a heavy heart for a multitude of reasons that we cannot disclose.” Naturally, fans were not satisfied with the studio’s cryptic response, which led to speculation about what these reasons might be.

One possibility is that Asmodee is trying to show sensitivity regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Back in 2020, board game publisher Z-Man Games postponed future editions of Pandemic Legacy for precisely that reason. However, players can still purchase physical copies of Pandemic and its various spinoffs. Furthermore, if this is the reason, it begs the question of why Asmodee didn’t pull the digital version of Pandemic at any point over the last two years.

Another hypothesis suggests that Asmodee intends to replace it with a new all-inclusive version similar to Catan Universe. If so, this would create a single app for Pandemic, its expansions, and spinoffs like Legacy, Hot Zone, and Fall of Rome. However, this may be wishful thinking, as Asmodee Digital’s yet to announce any such project.

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